Elmo Antonio George was sentenced today to 71 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and for filing false tax returns, the Justice Department and IRS announced.
On March 16, 2012, George and another individual, Nasheba Necia Hunte, were convicted by a jury sitting in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for a conspiracy to defraud the IRS that spanned from as early as January 2003 through at least April 2007. George and Hunte were also each convicted of two counts of filing false 2005 and 2006 individual income tax returns, on which they claimed false tax refunds for themselves. Hunte was sentenced to 51 months in prison on May 31, 2012.
The indictment alleged that in February 2005, George incorporated Winco Holdings Inc. in Florida. George and Hunte were the only officers of Winco and despite having no employees and paying no wages, the defendants filed employment tax returns on behalf of Winco for quarters in 2005, 2006 and 2007, that falsely claimed substantial quarterly employment tax withholdings for Winco employees. None of the withholding amounts were paid over to the IRS. In February 2007, a fraudulent check for $1,676,991.16 was written from Winco’s bank account to the U.S. Treasury for Winco’s employment tax obligations. The check was signed “contact maker for authority to pay.”
The indictment also alleged that the defendants filed corporate tax returns for Winco for tax years 2005 and 2006 that reported fictitious partnership losses. These fictitious losses then “passed through” to the defendants’ individual income tax returns along with the false Winco wage and withholding amounts. These withholding amounts generated false refunds for both defendants for tax years 2005 and 2006.
The evidence at trial established that the IRS remitted refunds to George and Hunte totaling approximately $241,807 for tax year 2005. George’s refund was deposited into a joint bank account of another entity, Dikingdom Inc. With the false refund, the defendants bought a home for $145,500 for cash in Villa Rica, Ga. To conceal the purchase of this property and the proceeds of the fraud, George deeded the property to an alias named the Overseer of Dikingdom. George also falsely claimed that a church owned the property. According to evidence presented in court, the total intended tax loss was over $1 million.
The evidence also established that less than one week after IRS-Criminal Investigation tried to contact the defendants, Hunte changed her home address in her employment contact documents from Villa Rica, Ga., to a non-existent address. When special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation attempted contact with Hunte, she affirmatively denied who she was to the agents.
Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, thanked special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Rebecca Perlmutter and Chad Edgar, who prosecuted the case.